Café and water sports facility to open in 2022

Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council has signed an agreement for its leisure partner, tmactive, to take on operation of Leybourne Lakes Country Park.

The 12-year lease adds to the range of facilities managed on behalf of the council by the not for profit leisure trust. Other facilities include Larkfield Leisure Centre, the Angel Centre, Tonbridge Swimming Pool and Poult Wood Golf Course.

The trust has an impressive track record in improving services at leisure outlets throughout the borough and will use its experience to benefit the 160,000 visitors to the 230 acre park each year.

One of the first projects to get underway will be to open and operate a new water sports centre and café being built on the banks of Ocean Lake. 

The facility, due to be completed by summer 2022, is being funded and built by the council. Providing an all-weather venue for visitors to relax with refreshments while enjoying views across the lake, the design features a range of environmental and energy efficiency features, including solar panels and a water source heat pump. The budget for the build is around £880,000, with 90 per cent coming from developer contributions paid to the council.

Cllr Des Keers, the council’s cabinet member for community services, said: ‘Leybourne Lakes is a hugely important community asset and I’m delighted that we’ve been able to add it to the range of services managed by tmactive. I’m looking forward to seeing the trust’s expertise deliver many improvements in the years ahead, not least operating the lakeside facility which will be welcomed by cyclists, walkers and water sports enthusiasts.’   

Martin Guyton, Chief Executive of Tonbridge and Malling Leisure Trust, said: ‘The trust is delighted to take on Leybourne Lakes and is committed to maintaining and improving the country park for the wide range of residents and visitors who use it on a daily basis. Outdoor activity is of vital importance to the physical and mental health and wellbeing of everyone and we aim to enhance services to ensure this benefit to all visitors.’

Published: Wednesday, 3rd November 2021